A little-known organisation formed by the 21st Army Group tackled hot spots and grappled with V-weapons as it followed behind the front line from Normandy to Hamburg

Army Fire Service personnel in action, having first camouflaged their Bedford QLC fire tender against air attack. All AFS firemen in Normandy had at least two years Blitz experience

Frank Pearce, a private serving in the 129th Fireboat Company, arrived with his crewmen off Gold Beach in the MFV79, a motor fire vessel, early on the morning of June 7, 1944. He later published his experiences: “Sticking my head out of the hatchway, I was surprised to find that we were not near a harbour or any conventional mooring. The Mulberry harbour had not yet been constructed and all that lay before us was an empty beach. “Beyond the sand dunes I could see tanks with flamethrowers gushing out great arcs of roaring flames almost 200 yards long. They were firing the hedgerows and even as I watched, burning figures staggered out of their cover – which was now a blazing inferno.

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